Time will tell if ownership’s decision to sign free agent reliever Rafael Soriano over the objection of Brian Cashman was sowing a significant seed in a decline of responsibility or even eventual departure of the general manager.
Cashman clearly distanced himself from the Soriano deal. If the Yankees thought the GM would at least go along with the program for public relations sake, Cashman was having none of that at the Soriano’s signing.
It was somewhat reminiscent to Dick Howser’s departure as Yankee manager in 1980. George Steinbrenner had invited the media to a luncheon to hear how Howser was supposedly leaving the Yankees to go into the real estate business.
``Dick has decided," the New York Times quoted Steinbrenener, ``that he will not be returning to the Yankees next year. I should say, not returning to the Yankees as manager.’’
Asked why he would not continue as manger, Howser replied, ``I have to be cautious here."
Asked directly if he had been fired, Howser said, ``I'm not going to comment on that.’’
Steinbrenner said, ``I think it's safe to say that Dick Howser wants to be a Florida resident year round, right, Dick?”
Howser did not respond.
At the end, Steinbrenenr lamented, ``Nobody ate any sandwiches.’’
Cashman’s situation was not nearly as tense, but he did get his point across, telling reporters that the Soriano signing ``compromises payroll, flexibility and efficient use of our resources."
Cashman also distanced himself from the deal that could be worth $35 million over three years.
``I couldn't speak to that,’’ Cashman said. ``I think that was a byproduct of the discussion Scott Boras was having with the club. I couldn't speak to why the structure of the deal is the way it is. I did not negotiate this. I was involved, but I didn't negotiate it directly with Scott.’’
Hal Steinbrenenr wasn’t at the press conference, so we don’t know his reaction to Cashman’s departure from the party line. More than likely, he will address the matter when Cashman’s contract is discussed.